Daily Driver C140: 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe – Sold?

by | Oct 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

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November 4, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Mercedes-Benz coupes are a hard breed to resist. Despite values never climbing all that high for all but the best examples and the laundry list of maintenance issues they’re known to have, enthusiasts can’t help but love a gorgeous design. The W126 coupes and the C140 after it are both examples of models that may be bad for your health, but we still want to own one nonetheless. Of course, there’s also the argument that these models’ reputation for being needy has more to do with lazy owners than any significant design flaw on the manufacturer’s part. This 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500, originally listed in October 2022 on Craigslist in Hazlet, New Jersey, has some rough edges but also evidence of recent maintenance, listed with an asking price of $7,500. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows us that the seller is just below the current market average sale price of $9,738:

With the passage of time, the allure of certain models from their press introduction days can fade, if we remember it at all. In the case of the W140 Mercedes models, we forget that this model platform represented everything the company had to offer. It was a billion-dollar refresh of the outgoing W126, designed to stimmy BMW and whatever they were up to with the rapidly aging E32 7-Series. Mercedes threw features into the new S-Class that bordered on insanity, from self-closing doors to double-paned glass. You could get one with a V12 if the measly six-cylinder wasn’t gangster enough for you. It seemed like between batting back BMW and trying to make the world forget Lexus existed, Mercedes was willing to bet everything on its flagship. And while it ultimately did serve to preserve the brand’s reputation on the global luxury stage, those efforts can be practically erased as the cars become older and less attentive owners slide into the driver’s seat.

The TopSpeedGermany YouTube Channel features this drive of a Euro-spec 1997 500 W140 Coupé driven on the Autobahn:

You have to wonder how much brand-bashing happens simply because a third- or fourth-tier owner buys an old luxury car and is shocked to learn it needs more upkeep than a new Civic. I see this in the Volkswagen Eurovan community, of which I am a part. First-time buyers are distracted by promises of road trips and campfires, forgetting that a Eurovan is, in fact, a pretty needy machine and one with a very limited parts supply. The same phenomenon exists for any older European model, so it’s not surprising to see pages of internet search results claiming old S-Classes like these are a nightmare to maintain. The seller of this pretty S500 coupe claims “everything works” and that he has recently replaced the brakes and a coil pack. That’s not an overly long list of upkeep, but it’s still better than most secondhand W140s that have next to no records available. The interior of the seller’s car is tired and would benefit from cleaning or re-dying the leather; the same goes for the polished wheels. Some detailing would go a long way on this pillarless coupe, and perhaps the next owner can enjoy it for a bit before re-posting it for sale with better pictures and clean leather.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1997 Mercedes Benz S500 2door coupe. In Excellent Condition very clean New brakes new coil pack everything works No issues only 111000 miles new Hankook tires. Automatic, 8 cylinder 5,0L, RWD Moon roof power, Double pane windows power door locks air bags power seats / heated/ rear Cruise control, premium sound AM/FM Bose stereo CD player abs brakes. This car is Hard to find very rare. for more info message me. Serious inquiries only Please no scammers you will be (ignored)!

Risk versus reward: is this S500 coupe worth rolling the dice on if it doesn’t have major maintenance needs?  

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